• Switzerland's news in English
Kidnapping of Swiss boy raises online gaming fears
File photo: Rachel Johnson

Kidnapping of Swiss boy raises online gaming fears

The Local · 29 Jun 2016, 12:07

Published: 29 Jun 2016 12:07 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The boy, known as Paul by Swiss media, was reported missing by his parents from his home in Gunzgen, in the canton of Solothurn, on June 18th.

Police first thought he had run away, but investigations then led them to suspect kidnapping.

After an extensive search involving Swiss and German police, he was finally recovered in the early hours of Sunday morning 560 kilometres away at the apartment of a 35-year-old German man in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Though the boy was outwardly unharmed, the German press later reported that he had been sexually abused – though Swiss police have not yet confirmed the allegation.

According to police, the boy met the German man in an internet chat forum for players of the game Minecraft.

Speaking to the media in a press conference on Sunday, Solothurn police chief Urs Bartenschlager said they did not yet know how the boy came to travel to Düsseldorf.

“The case is an example of the danger the internet can represent. Even with harmless children’s games there are not always harmless players,” he said.

Speaking to newspaper Blick on Wednesday, Chantal Billaud from Swiss Crime Prevention advised parents to keep an eye on their children's online activities.

While young people often have digital skills far superior to their parents, that’s not the case when it comes to social and emotional skills, she added.

Story continues below…

“Just as you ask your child what he did this afternoon you should also ask him what he did online,” she said.

The suspect will not be extradited to Switzerland, but will face kidnapping charges in Germany.

A case can be classed as kidnapping if the victim is under 16, even if he went to the older man’s home voluntarily, police said.

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Designed to house 20,000 people, the bunker was built in and over two motorway tunnels. Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben

The Local takes a tour of the Sonnenberg bunker in Lucerne, opened 40 years ago at the height of the Cold War.

Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
File photo: Renato Bagattini/Swiss Tourism

Skiers in Switzerland pay the highest prices for their ski passes of anywhere in Europe, according to research.

Eco group fights Bern over wind farm plans
There are currently more than 30 wind farms in Switzerland. Photo: Alpiq

Wind turbines are “gigantic and destructive” machines, says Paysage Libre Suisse.

Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Antoni Da Campo will now carry out his military service. Photo: Antoni Da Campo

A Swiss man who was told he would not be accepted for military service because of his strict veganism has finally succeeded in making the army change its mind.

Geneva terror suspects to receive compensation
File photo: Emran Kassim

The Swiss public prosecutor has dropped the case against them.

Ticino firefighters rescue cow from swimming pool
File photo: The Local

The cow was at risk of drowning after falling into the private pool.

Uefa Champions League
Basel 'ready for battle' in Champions League clash
Basel training in Paris. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

Swiss champions Basel fancy their chances of springing a surprise when they face Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.

Burst pipe causes major flood in Lausanne
The water flooded Place de la Riponne in Lausanne. File photo: Swiss Tourism/Christof Schuerpf

Water rushed down the streets after a pipe burst in the city centre.

Outcry after ‘neo-Nazi’ music festival held on Swiss soil
The village of Unterwasser was the tranquil location for the festival. Photo: Swiss Tourism

Should police have intervened?

Seven things you’ll miss about Switzerland if you leave
Switzerland: what's not to miss? Photo: Christian Perret/Swiss Tourim

Former expats in Switzerland tell The Local what they miss about living here.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
jobs available